Editorials, Planning

August 27, 2018

How to Organize a Styled Shoot

Styled shoots are popular amongst the event industry, allowing vendors to showcase their talents, push creative boundaries, test new ideas, and bring a vision to life for their audience and prospective clients to enjoy. While seeing those gorgeous images at the completion of your shoot is extremely rewarding, it’s also rewarding to look back on the process and the vast amout of time and effort that went into organizing a creative shoot. I’m summing up an entire year’s worth of trial and error and learnings from my own shoots, in hopes to provide you with a clear outline on how to organize a styled shoot yourself.

For wedding vendors, styled shoots are extremely beneficial to your business and exposure in the wedding industry. They allow you to express your creative style, build your portfolio, provide inspiration for current and future clients, and collaborate with the vendors of your choice to help bring your editorial vision to life. You should treat the organization and planning phase of your styled shoot a lot like you would for a wedding. A vision needs to be clearly defined, budget and goals set, vendors secured, and a day of timeline outlined.

It took me a full year of trial and error to create the perfect system for organizing my styled shoots, so my hope for you is that this outline below will save you some time and effort when learning how to organize a styled shoot yourself.


The blog post below shares a high-level outline for organizing your own shoot. If you’re looking for extensive detail & my exact steps for organizing a styled shoot, I’ve created this FREE 30-page Styled Shoot Planning Guide for you!

It includes:

  • Extensive content + details on creating your goal, vision, and budget for your shoot
  • Step by step details explaining how to submit & get published in a national blog or publicatoin
  • My most used programs for creating inspiration boards + marketing content for my styled shoots (an example images to go along with it!)
  • The exact email that I send to vendors when asking to participate in a shoot
  • A 5-page inspiration board from a previous styled shoot


download now



How to Organize a Styled Shoot


Deciding on a goal for your styled shoot is the first step in the planning process. This will be the foundation of your decision making and planning during the shoot and shared with everyone involved so all expectations are equal. Some things to consider when deciding on your goal for the shoot:

  • Do you want to get published in local or national print and online publications or just use the images for personal marketing and portfolio purposes?
  • Is your goal to meet vendors in a new market or work with vendors you’re already comfortable with?
  • Are you testing a new idea and pushing creative boundaries?



Before you begin emailing every vendor in your contact list to participate, you need to first establish the visual direction for your shoot. The vision for your shoot is the most crucial step in the organization process. Creating a vision for your shoot will take some serious thought and be the main influence for selecting your team of vendors. You will need to create an inspiration board that accurately reflects your vision for the shoot and will be the main source of visuals, color, aesthetic, and mood that is shared with all of your vendors. It will influence all of your design decisions and creative processes.  The vision boards for my past two shoots can be found here:




Just as you would plan for a wedding or event, you need to outline your budget. You are setting yourself up to go over-budget if you don’t set expectations for yourself and your team of vendors. Some things to consider:

  • How much are you willing to spend on the shoot?
  • Will you ask vendors for their services free of charge? What if they ask for help covering costs, do you have money set aside or is that a no-go for you?
  • Who will bring or purchase the goods for styling?
  • What about floral costs?

There are a ton of costs to consider when creating your styled shoot, so prepare ahead of time with a goal in mind to keep you on track. I’ve worked with a ton of amazing vendors that have provided their services free of charge in exchange for marketing material/imagery. Each vendor is different, and you won’t know costs associated with working alongside them until you ask.


The team creates the dream. Ok… that was cheesy… but SO TRUE! The team that you select to execute your vision for the shoot is so crucial. You need to consider every vendor carefully and make sure that their style and aesthetic aligns with your ideal shoot design.

  • Insight #1 : If your goal is to work with new vendors, take a look at their reviews and some previous work to give you an idea of if they would be a good fit. And if you’re considering working with close friends or vendors you’ve collaborate with previously, don’t just ask them to tag along because you like who they are as a person… make sure they FIT your VISION for the shoot.


  • Insight #2: The question I get most often is HOW do you get vendors to agree to work with you on these shoots. And the answer is easy… I just ASK. The worst that you will get is a no.. or no response at all… but to be honest, about 80% of the vendors that I ask to participate in shoots with me are quick to jump on board. The industry is looking to build their portfolio and receive new imagery that fits their brand. If you’re asking vendors to participate that fit your aesthetic and vision for the shoot, then your chances are much higher for them to agree.



The execution is similar to executing a wedding day. You will share important information with vendors… like what they’re responsible for contributing/bringing, what time is set-up and tear down, and provide any important details about the logistics of the shoot. I always like to follow-up with all vendors the week leading up to the shoot to confirm their attendance one final time and prepare a packing list for myself to make sure I have everything ready to go before arrival.  Have fun the day of the shoot, network with vendors during set up and shooting, and watch your vision unfold before your eyes.

Insight #1: The day of the shoot will be extremely hands on, wear comfortable clothes, and remember to be flexible. If something isn’t executing exactly to plan, think on your feet to create the next best option.





After the shoot, send a thank you to your vendor team for participating as well as a timeline for sharing your images. Bonus: I have found benefit in sharing a list of all vendors involved and their Instagram handles. It benefits everyone involved to have this list for social sharing purposes and saves time when posting images.

Once you receive your images, create a plan for sharing them with your audience and prepare to update your portfolio and blog with the beautiful work you just created!



My recent shoot “How to Style a Flawless Modern Bohemian Wedding” was featured on Wedding Chicks this past July, and it wasn’t without some research and careful preparation that I achieved this goal. If one of your goals for the shoot is to get published in a national wedding blog or print publication, you should first research and select up to 4 blogs you would like to submit in hopes that one of the four feature your work.  Some things to consider when submitting your shoot to be published:

  • Only submit your images to blogs that have the same aesthetic as your shoot
  • Only submit your images to one blog at a time. Blogs received hundreds if not thousands of submissions a month, so there is a chance that you will get a “sorry, we are not going to publish your work at this time” email. Don’t feel defeated if you weren’t accepted by the first blog you submitted to. If you think your work is beautiful, someone else will as well. Don’t stop trying to get published.
  • If your shoot is accepted to be published, most blogs like exclusivity to the images and they want to be the first to share with their audience. This means you will not be able to share your images on your website/social handles until the shoot is published. If your goal for the shoot is to be published, please ask your vendors to hold off on sharing until you hear back from the publishing companies if it’s accepted.



If you’re a wedding vendor, has your experience differed from mine!? I would love your insight and to learn about some of your organization tips below!


xx – Alyssa


Alyssa Thomas is a Wedding and Event Planner based in Pittsburgh, PA and serving clients in Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Worldwide Destinations. Her work spans from weddings and corporate events, to meetups and intimate gatherings. Contact her today for your consultation and stop by her instagram to see some beautiful events, design work, and a peek into her personal life + traveling adventures. @alyssathomasevents

Pittsburgh Wedding Planner | Columbus Wedding Planner


  1. Thank you for all the info! Very useful article!

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